Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mint Cocoa Bars with Chia seeds

I'm usually not a big fan of most protein/snack bars.  I just don't like the way they taste.  Most of the time they taste too sweet and too artificial with the exception of a few (Cy & I both like Kind Bars).  So when I saw the recipe for this Cocoa Bar in my CSA Box I was very curious to see how they would turn out with such few ingredients. And you know what? They were delicious!  It was just the right amount of sweetness with the flavor of natural mint chocolate chip - one of my favorites {for ice cream ;)} It's a perfect bite for when you just need a little pick me up.

Now that I know you can make your own tasty snack bars with no refined sugars, the possibilities are endless! My head is swimming with thoughts of coconut shreds, dried cherries, all different kinds of nuts, and on and on...
What flavors would you make?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Zucchini Hash

A quick post today of another dish Cy & I made for the brunch last along with the Double Strawberry & Basil Tart - a Zucchini hash.
Less carbs than potatoes and can also work as a nice alternative to pancakes ;)

Best of all, it's simple to make.  Just grated zucchini, an egg, some garlic/ginger, and a little coconut flour.

Monday, May 13, 2013

{A Happy Mother's Day} Double Strawberry Basil Tart

I hope everyone had a nice Mother's day! As I become older and finding myself having to juggle more things, I realize more and more how amazing my Mom really is.  To successfully take care of her career, her home and the family is no small feat, and I can only hope to be as strong and productive some day.

 There are many amazing brunch places out here in Los Angeles, but Cy and I decided to cook brunch for my parents this year to show our appreciation - including this Double Strawberry & Basil tart that turned out amazingly well :) I made it because I really love the Double Blueberry tart recipe, and figured if it works for blueberries it must work for strawberries as well.

I made a strawberry & basil jam to spread on the bottom of the tart and simply topped it with fresh strawberries and basil - served with some vanilla creme fraiche, it's springtime in your mouth.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Almond Chiffon Roll Cake w/ Sweet Potato Cream (Gluten-free)

I'm not sure what is going on with the weather out here in Los Angeles.  It's abnormally hot one day and raining the next! Despite the strange weather, I was able to come up with this recipe, desperate to use up my sweet potatoes from this previous post.   It's a traditional roll cake with some tweaks.  Instead of whip cream, I used pureed sweet potato to make a "cream".  This would be a perfectly healthy way to frost cupcakes, spread on bread, or even to eat just as it is :)

For the cake portion, I used almond flour to make it gluten-free.  I was worried that almond flour wouldn't be able to pull off that light and fluffy consistency of a chiffon cake, but it came out great!

sweet potato "cream" : I actually miscalculated and made it too liquidy but it was still good!
This cake was surprisingly easy and quick to make so I urge you to give it a try if you're looking for a relatively healthy dessert!  The recipe itself I left very loose so that there is lots of room to play with it if you'd like :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Black Quinoa Salad with Lemon Avocado & Pistachios

I had a huge bunch of beet greens that I wanted to use when I saw the recipe that came along with our CSA produce box, a Black Quinoa Salad with Lemon, Avocado and Pistachios by Deborah Madison and I immediately decided I would try out the recipe.  I know that lots of good things have been said about quinoa already, but it is an especially good carb for diabetics since it is digested very slowly in the body and won't spike your blood sugar.

I had never cooked with black quinoa before this so I never realized that black quinoa is much crunchier than other quinoa.  At first I thought maybe I misjudged the cooking time!  It makes for an interesting texture and the color adds aesthetic interest, but I think if I were to make this again, I'd mix the black quinoa with some of the other's just a little too crunchy for my personal taste.

However, the dish itself was beautiful and very easy to throw together.  I loved the dressing and it went perfectly well with all the herbs mixed into the salad.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Satsumaimo: The Japanese Sweet Potato

Wagashi is a term for Japanese confections often served with tea.  I've been wanting to make this particular rustic wagashi for sometime now.  Very simply named the  "Sweet Potato", it is of course made from the Sastumaimo, better known as the Japanese sweet potato. The Satsumaimo has a much more mild and delicate flavor than your usual yam or sweet potato and is easily a favorite in Japan.  During autumn months, you can find Satsumaimo flavored everything over there from Soft-serve ice creams to chocolates.  

There is something very comforting about the satsumaimo for me - like coming home.  Maybe because it never fails to make me think of my sis as it was a favorite of hers growing up.   Even now, I associate this maroon colored potato with my her just as I associate penguins with Cy ;)

The naturally sweet nutrient-packed veggie lends itself well as a dessert ingredient.  And this simple to make recipe makes for the perfect healthy sweet bite when you need a little tea or coffee break. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Quick Carrot & Enoki Salad

I've never been a huge lover of carrots growing up.  Sure I could eat the baby carrot here and there or have it as part of another dish, but I would never choose to seek out a carrot dish unless it was carrot cake (Hmm maybe that's why my eyesight is so terrible...)  But since we started juicing and we made our first carrot juice, I finally understood the appeal of carrots.  I suddenly crave the sweet crunchy goodness of raw carrots from time to time and this quick and easy side salad is the perfect solution.

This two ingredient salad only takes a few minutes to prepare (especially if you own a mandolin), keeps well in the fridge and tastes great chilled - so perfect now that the days are becoming warmer. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Honey & Vanilla Almond Milk

There have been plenty of cold-pressed juice places popping up all over the place this past year and our neighborhood is no exception.  We have a Juice Crafters within walking distance from our place and they have slowly converted us into juice drinkers.  Considering how pricey each of those drinks are, we finally broke down and bought a juicer to make our own.

I'm not going to lie, we ♥ our juicer.
I think we pretty much make some sort of juice (usually green) every day now.  I'm not sure if we would ever be able to do a hardcore juice cleanse or anything like that - we love solid food a little too much for that, but it does feel good to add another source of fresh fruits and veggies into our diet.

We usually make a green juice in the mornings (I will definitely post this sometime), but I wanted to try making almond milk.  And though it does require some prep work, I thought that the resulting drink was super fresh and delicious and well worth the effort.

There are many ways to make almond milk, but since we had a juicer, we used this method.

After soaking the almonds overnight, I don't know how necessary it was to actually peel the almonds but it was much easier to do than I expected.  Cy and I together finished this process in about 5min.  The skin literally pops out...kind of fun ;)

{Honey & Vanilla Almond Milk}


1cup Almonds 
3cups water
2 pitted dates
1tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp honey


1.  Soak almonds in the water overnight or at least 8hrs.
2.  Drain the almonds, reserving the liquid.
3.  Add just enough boiling water over the almonds and leave for a few minutes.
4.  Drain the hot water and rub the almonds in between fingers (the skin should pop off).
5.  Add the almonds and reserved water into your juicer along with the pitted dates.
6.  Strain the milk through a cheesecloth.
7.  Add vanilla and honey to your resulting milk, mix well and enjoy :)

*You may be able to get away with skipping steps 3&4 if you are pressed for time.
* If you don't mind a little bit (and I mean really little) of fine almond granules in the milk you can skip           step 6 also. (We actually did not bother to strain it).
*You can adjust the amount of water and honey to make the milk "creamier" or sweeter according to your own taste.

This is the pulp I was left with...I may have to try using it as "almond flour" though I guess most of the nutrients would be gone?  I'm not certain. If anyone has any good ideas what to do with the pulp aside from composting, please feel free to suggest!

Monday, March 11, 2013

{Domo Cookies} A Happy Birthday to a Friend

Today is my good friend J's Bday up in NoCal. So just wanted to give a shout out to her - Happy Happy Birthday!

I baked these Domo shortbread cookies with a friend this weekend and if J was in LA, I would've shared them with her.  The  Grrh I-will-eat-you-up-if-you-mess-with-me-expression of Domo somehow reminds me of her (I say this with ♥!)  

I know that my last post was for shortbread cookies too, and I know that they are not exactly the healthiest treats in the world, but these were just way too cute.  Thanks to this site i felt very inspired to make them and share them with you.  I promise I will get back to my healthier posts soon!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

{Penguin Icebox Cookies} for a Happy Valentine's

Valentine's day is a silly holiday really - you shouldn't need a specific day to show your love and appreciation for someone.  Having said that however, it always makes for a very good excuse to bake cookies and decorate with lots of ♥s ;)

Last year, I made some strawberry & banana muffins (decorated with ♥s of course) but this year, I happened to see these - so perfect for Cy!  It's not exactly healthy...but it was too cute to pass up! I played with the recipe a little bit, swapping some of the flour for almond flour and some of the sugar with truvia to try to cut down on the sweetness for Cy.  I'm not going to post the recipe since it's available on the link, but if you want to know what substitutions I made, feel free to email!

I know I haven't posted in awhile, but I will get back to posting more regularly again soon!

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